Unit 40 Board Says Thanks to Altman, Meinhart


Published on April 22 2013 10:19 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

The Effingham Unit 40 Board of Education Monday said thanks to departing Board members Galen Altman and Brad Meinhart.  Altman was not re-elected earlier this month and Meinhart chose not to seek another term.


Altman and Meinhart were each presented a plaque recognizing their service and a brick paver that will be part of the memorial in front of Effingham High School.  Altman served 12 years on the Board, Meinhart four years.

Altman said, "I enjoyed my time on the Board and having a hand in helping kids learn."  Meinhart said, "What a class act, starting with the President (Delbert Soltwedel) and how the meetings are run and a very professional operation."

Altman and Meinhart will be succeeded by Steve Bone and Laurie King on the Board.

Board members took action on a number of personnel matters, not the least of which was the resignation of Brad Wallace, longtime Unit 40 Director of Bands.  Wallace shared Monday afternoon that next year he will be a graduate teaching assistant with the band department at the University of Illinois.  He will work with concert bands, the Marching Illini, and assist with courses in the School of Music.  During Wallace's tenure, the size of the band has greatly increased, as has its proficiency.

The Board also accepted resignations from Megan Woodard as School Social Worker and from Christin Niemerg as Bridge sponsor.  Also approved was the change in retirement for Cathy Kaufmann to the end of the current school year, and the transfer of teacher Erin Wendling to third grade for next school year.

Board members hired Debbie Sciaroni as a three-hour cook at the junior high school.  Several teachers were hired including Becky Schumacher as a Special Education teacher at South Side, Kathryn Koester as a Special Education teacher at the Early Learning Center, Shanna Ambuehl as a Special Education teacher at the high school, Abra Woomer as an elementary teacher at South Side, Mindy Pals as an elementary teacher at Central Grade School, Andrew Glosser as an elementary teacher at Central, and Natalie Brummer as a Math teacher at the junior high school.

Family and Medical Leave Act leaves were granted to Jeanne Patterson and Emily Quast and a host of summer help workers were hired, including Diane Arnold, Linda Baker, Liz Budde, Branden Bushue, Sharon Chesnut, Carrie Clasby, Pat Clough, Leah Colclasure, Courtney Cook, Becky Eskew, Theresa Fuesting, Jackie Genaust, Patty Keck, Sue Kinkelaar, Debbie Kirby, Kim Knierim, Darlene Krietemeyer, Kerri Krischel, Pansy Limes, Cindy Matteson, Megan McDonald, Nate McDonald, Mitch Meinhart, Anthony Michael, Levi Michael, Derek Minor, Weston Peno, Kathy Peters, Lori Saunders, Steve Shillings, Zach Scott, Ray Thompson, Diane Tieffel, and Clark Williamson.

One trouble spot discussed Monday was a financial software package for the District.  Director of Business Rem Woodruff said the current package is not doing the job, nor has it for several years.  The District has been spending additional money because the software didn't do the job, something that upset Board member Brian Wick, who said, "I am really ticked that we weren't told of the problems we had and the money that was spent and the Board didn't know it."

Woodruff is still exploring software package options, but hopes to move ahead with acquiring a new system in time to have it implemented for fall.

The Board also agreed to let the city's 4th of July fireworks display take place on the Unit 40 athletic complex west of Effingham High School, a relocation after many years from Hendelmeyer Park.  The new location is more open, which organizers say should lead to an even better display.  The Effingham Firefighters Association is heading up this year's display.

Woodruff said organizers believe the football bleachers can be used as seating for the display and that there will be adequate parking at the high school and surrounding areas.  There will be enforcement to insure no alcohol and no smoking on Unit 40 grounds during the event.

Unit 40 Foundation Advisor Todd Schuette reported that $6,395 in teacher grant requests were approved at the Foundation Board's meeting just ahead of the school board meeting and that 33 scholarships are to be awarded by the Foundation this year.  Robin Klosterman and Bev Soltwedel are being nominated as Foundation directors.

Also Monday, the Unit 40 board bought a tractor from Sloan Implement for $18,290; agreed to seek a $50,000 grant from the Illinois State Board of Education to help pay for an additional entrance to Effingham High School to restrict access to the building during the school day; approved student accident insurance for $26,319; and purchased a Treasurer's bond to cover $6.9 million in holdings for $4,900.